Librarian and food columnist Amy Fischer has an article about cleaning and debearding fresh mussels to thank for her latest endeavor as a food writer. It appeared in her local newspaper, and she got to thinking about how impractical this was for Alabama readers like her. From there, Fischer’s desire to connect with readers by giving them practical and real tips and family-friendly recipes, with a dose of Southern charm, was born. Her column, Set the Table, now appears in five publications.
A recent article and recipe published in the Sand Mountain Reporter, for example, sums up her charm quite well: “Rocky Road Bars. Don’t let the rocky road of life get you down! Smoother days are ahead!”
It’s a great mantra to keep in mind, and this WoodmenLife member strives to remind her readers, “We all need that renewed sense of comfort and peace in these uncertain times.” She provides recipes and cooking tips that she hopes will fill a void and bring families and friends together — figuratively — in a time when many have to be kept apart.
For the past 25 years, Fischer has been the librarian at Fort Payne High School. And, she has her love for research and writing, as well as her cooking hobby, to thank for her inspiration to write weekly food columns.
“As a librarian by trade, I love guiding people to answers … and getting the perfect book or resource in their hands. I am using my cooking skills to experiment with recipes, try new cooking methods, and compare recipes to find the perfect ones to share.” Fischer vets every recipe to make sure it meets the needs of her readers.
“Over these past months of writing a food column, I have learned that readers will keep you on your toes,” she said. “I have been asked basic cooking questions, product information and recipe advice, and I always try to answer the questions as quickly and concisely as possible.”
It’s quite impressive, especially considering Fischer submits weekly columns that include three to five recipes at a time, all around a particular theme or focus. On top of that, she also keeps in mind which fresh, seasonal ingredients are available locally. She attributes her ability to connect with readers to her small-town upbringing. She appreciates heritage, tradition, God, and country, and wants to see this way of life preserved.
Fischer and her husband, Don, have been longtime WoodmenLife members, and so has their 17-year-old son, David Allen, who’s been a member since 2007.
Fischer lets readers in on her family-favorite recipes. They include caramel brownie cheesecake, shrimp pasta, creamy macaroni and cheese, and Key lime pie. She loves to prepare a baklava every Christmas and light, fluffy meringues every Easter.
As all good cooks and bakers do, she learns from her mistakes. And this food writer is not too proud to share that her biggest baking fiasco happened during her first year of marriage. “I was trying to make my husband’s favorite cake, a red velvet layer cake. It turned into a slippery pink nightmare due to the super runny icing. The layers were falling apart, too, and as I attempted to ice it, the red cake crumbs got all mixed in. The cake turned a lovely shade of pink,” she said. “This past Thanksgiving, I made a red velvet cake — the first one in years. Fortunately, it turned out beautifully, and it earned my family’s stamp of approval!”
It’s a great reminder to all of us as we push forward from the rocky trials and struggles of 2020, that smoother times are ahead. And inspirational people like Fischer will be there to help guide us along the way.
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